The Globe and Mail is publishing an in-depth two-week series on why Canada needs to increase immigration and how to do it. In the first article, Joe Friesen talks about the need to radically increase immigration to fill labour shortages.
Joe Friesen, The Globe and Mail
Between now and 2021, a million jobs are expected to go unfilled across Canada. Ottawa is making reforms to the immigration system but isn’t going far enough. We need to radically boost immigration numbers. With the right people, Canada can be an innovative world power. Without them, we’ll drain away our potential.
1. The Manitoba experiment
Arriving into Steinbach, Man., an hour southeast of Winnipeg, you find a quiet, conservative community, the kind of place that has twice as many churches (22) as traffic lights (11). But continue on and you see some sights you might not expect in a prairie hamlet of 13,500: a Paraguayan food store; two Filipina-run nail salons; and, when you reach the western edge, a 25-acre soccer complex that has become the hub of local life.
As an outpost of the global game in the geographic centre of the nation of hockey, the soccer arena is a symbol of the transformation that has swept through Steinbach in the new millennium – one that could be a lesson to the whole country.
Not long ago, in the late 1990s, Steinbach feared that it might join rural Canada’s casualty list. Young people were leaving for opportunities in Winnipeg or Calgary, and even businesses that were thriving, such as a window manufacturer, could not find enough skilled workers to keep up with demand.